Never Split the Difference

#book tags

These notes are adapted from both Chris Voss' book Never Split The Difference and from his Masterclass on negotiation.

After watching Chris' Masterclass, I am enthralled by the presence he commands. This is a valuable book.


Chapter 1: The new rules

Chapter 2: Be a mirror

“Instead of prioritizing your argument—in fact, instead of doing any thinking at all in the early goings about what you’re going to say—make your sole and all encompassing focus the other person and what they have to say. In that mode of true active listening—aided by the tactics you’ll learn in the following chapters—you’ll disarm your counterpart. You’ll make them feel safe. The voice in their head will begin to quiet down.”

Chapter 3: Don’t feel their pain, label it

Chapter 4: Beware “Yes”—master “No”

Chapter 5: Trigger the two words that immediately transform any negotiation

Chapter 6: Bend their reality

Chapter 7: Create the illusion of control

Chapter 8: Guarantee execution

Chapter 9: Bargain hard

Ackerman Bargaining: An exact bargaining technique.

This is a technique used when it eventually comes down to making offers and counteroffers. It works as follows:

  1. Offer 65% of what you’re willing to pay.
    • This is an extreme anchor and will throw them off their feet.
  2. Offer 85%
    • This will feel much more reasonable after your extreme anchor.
    • Before making a second offer, use techniques such as mirroring and labeling to get them to bet against themselves.
  3. Offer 95%
    • Notice how the interval gets smaller each time. They’ll feel as if their really squeezing you for everything you’ve got.
  4. Offer 100%, but specific.
    • If it really comes down to it, offer exactly what you’re willing to pay.
    • Use a specific number, such as $1,732.00

How to get someone to keep talking

Mirroring: the act of repeating the last few words of what a person just said.

The three voices

  1. The assertive voice
    • Always counterproductive
  2. The pleasant and cheerful person
    • Should be your default voice
  3. The late-night FM DJ voice
    • All sentences end with a downward inflection
    • Gently assures the person that you’re in control.
    • Doesn’t give them the opportunity to resist.
    • They won’t notice.
    • Calm’s people down - use when people are upset
    • Best used for points that are immovable
  4. The analyst voice
    • Much like the late-night FM DJ voice but lacks warmth


Labeling is the act of cleanly identifying the emotions that someone is faced with.

The power of no

Getting them to say “that’s right”

In summary, in order to get someone to say “that’s right”, summarize what they said by paraphrasing their arguments while labeling their emotions.

The power of open-ended questions


Tactical empathy


“Negotiation is the art of letting the other side have your way”

— Chris Voss


Exercise: Mirroring and Labeling

Mastering Delivery

Case Study: Manhattan Bank Robbery

Body language and speech patterns

How to respond to a lie:

Creating the illusion of control

The accusation audit

The value of “no”

Here is a sample email sent by Chris to a client who was not committing to buying tickets to their negotiation class before a deadline:

Are you against committing to 3 tickets now? Is it a ridiculous idea for you to pay for the tickets before the business day starts tomorrow?

See How to write an email

Bending reality

Bending their reality is in reference to Loss Aversion.


Black Swans

Referenced By